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Mind vs. Body wars; binging, purging and other disorderly nastiness

by Colette Coughlin

Finally we are in an era when people are more openly admitting to having deep inner struggles with themselves. Eating disorders have slowly started being acknowledged by at least a few of those who suffer from them, albeit usually only in the past tense, and when there is a victorious outcome to report. No one wants to talk about it when they’re in the midst of it, probably because they don’t want to admit to having so little “self-control”.

Yet, in my experience, that’s exactly what it’s about… control. Or lack of it, the desire to maintain some, or the helplessness of not having any, or enough. Taking firm control of what we eat or don’t eat, when, where, with whom, and how much, is often a quite normal reaction to feelings of powerlessness in other areas of our lives. We may be feeling dependent or restrained by parents, a spouse or a colleague, by our financial situation, our life’s work or our self-esteem. Any of these issues, when unprocessed, can wreak enough havoc to cause the mind to declare war on its best friend, the body, because it’s not getting what it wants, when it wants, in the way it wants it. And it (the unconscious mind) simply doesn’t yet have the tools to deal with things differently.
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